If you’re curious about your credit score, or worried about arrears affecting future borrowing, checking your credit report is easy. Here’s how to check your credit history, your credit check rights, & what your credit score means.
It’s good to review your credit history from time to time, by requesting your own credit report, particularly if you’re looking to apply for credit.
You’ll be credit checked if you’re planning to:
Lenders check your credit record to decide whether they can lend to you, and how much your borrowing will cost.
They also use it to check your name and address details, so make sure these are correct and up to date.
Even if you think your credit score is good, you may discover things on your report you didn’t know about. It can flag up things like:
It can also remind you of when you last had arrears and how long you’ve been free of them. This can be useful when choosing a lender, because some have stricter lending criteria than others.
If you find things on your report that you disagree with, you have the right to:
You should report any errors to the lender, not the credit agency as it’s the lender that must request for the information to be changed.
It’s when you struggle to keep up to date with all your financial commitments, and this is recorded on your credit record.
This can include missed or late payments for:
Bad credit is often caused by not having enough income to cover your outgoings each month, so you fall behind on payments.
Making late payments, or missing payments sends you into arrears which are hard to get out of. This can spiral into a long history of poor credit that makes borrowing very difficult.
A credit score or rating is given to show whether your current credit status is good or bad at a particular time.
The Irish Credit Bureau gives each credit record a score between 224 and 581, but it isn’t visible unless you or a lender asks to see it.
Your credit score is based on your credit history at that time. As well as current loans you may have, it also includes information about inactive loans that were closed in the last five years.
The higher the score, the better your credit history.
If you have a higher credit score, you’re considered less risky by potential lenders because you’re more likely to make all your repayments on time.
Lenders may use your score in part, to help them decide:
Having a high credit score isn’t a guarantee that a lender will lend to you, and having a low score doesn’t always mean you won’t be able to borrow any credit.
Sometimes lenders use their own scoring system rather than using your credit score from the ICB.
The Central Credit Register doesn’t score credit reports so the lender would need to rely on their own scoring method.
There are many ways you can boost your credit score, including:
Details will be kept about your credit agreements for five years from when they’ve been paid off.
For example, if you have a personal loan that runs for three years, lenders will be able to see information about its history for a further five years, until it’s then wiped from your record.
No, you can request as many checks as you need and it won’t affect your credit score or rating.
Too many credit checks made by lenders when you apply for credit can affect your credit score, as it’s a sign that you’re having difficulty getting credit.
If you find a mistake, you should contact the lender it relates to and ask them to correct the information they submitted to the credit agency.
The credit agency can’t change the information unless the lender advises them to.
It’s operated and owned by the Central Bank of Ireland, and has been storing information about loans of €500 and over, since 2017.
Lenders must register details of loans with the Central Credit Register by law.
It’s also a requirement that lenders check your credit report using this database for any loans of €2,000 or more - and they don’t need your consent to do this.
The ICB is owned by its members, such as: banks, card issuers, mortgage providers and local authorities.
It was formed in to help: speed up the process of getting credit, reduce the cost of credit, and help prevent fraud.
More than 300 lending institutions submit information to the ICB every month, and these lenders can also access your credit report to check your lending history with other lenders.
Once a credit agreement has ended, information about it will remain on the database for five years.
The ICB doesn’t have the power to decide who gets credit, that’s up to the lender.
No, here are some circumstances where you won’t have a score:
No. It’s only a snapshot of your credit status at a particular time so unless your credit and behaviour never changes, your score won’t stay the same.
It is possible to maintain a good score though by always paying on time and in full. It’s also possible to turn a bad score into a good score, and vice versa.
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